Friday, June 17, 2005
Interesting legal headlines
For whatever reason, Thursday saw lots of legal news. Maybe that has something to do with Friday morning tee times and maybe it doesn't, but here are a few of the ones that piqued by interest.
- A federal district court in Orange County, California held that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is constitutional. Well, in reading the opinion, the court upheld Section 3 of the federal DOMA as constitutional, ruling that the plaintiffs (California homosexuals who desired to marry) did not have standing to challenge other portions of the act. In the end, the court found that Congress did have a legitimate interest in protecting marriage as between one woman and one man due to the government's finding that such a relationship is "the optimal union for procreating and rearing children." Yes, I felt that it was a constitutional display of Congress' power, but I am a bit surprised that a federal court - in California, no less - came to the same conclusion. The well-reasoned opinion can be found here, with a different press release on the decision contained in a post by Mark Rose. Of course, this is only one battle in the war, as this case is ripe for an appeal to the 9th Circuit, and who knows what kind of opinion this issue will produce there. *** For those of you who don't see the importance of appointing good judges to the federal courts, take note - the judge who gave this opinion, Judge Gary Taylor, is retiring from the bench in a matter of days. He was nominated to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush. Will a judge of equal competence take his place? ***
- Along the same subject, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is now saying that he will support a citizen-led ballot initiative to alter the Commonwealth's constitution. This is my question to those who believe Romney a major player in the 2008 race for the White House - how does he respond when a challenger points to his leadership resulting in the only state where homosexuals can legally marry? Even this action seems weak.
- I was also surprised to see this law review article by Ann Southworth in the UCLA Law Review (only an abstract is present, as the entire April edition is not on-line as of yet). My interest in the topic of conservative organizations not being included in the term "public interest" because many law schools have debt assistance programs for those students who go into "public interest law." What many of those schools hold is that you have to meet their definition of "public interest," which often means working for the ACLU or Sierra Club qualifies a young graduate while working for the ACLJ or Thomas Moore Law Center does not. With vehicles like Ms. Southworth's article, perhaps the definitions will change to more accurately reflect the "public interest" and not necessarily those in the school's political interests.
- Speaking of the "Thought Police," it appears that they run the libraries in Denver, Colorado. Liberty Counsel should have fun toying with the Rampart Library District Board of Trustees on this one, as the library has no leg to stand on here.
- While a child may not abandon his First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse doors, apparently attorneys do so at the courthouse doors. At least, that's the Sixth Circuit's take on the issue, says How Appealing.
- Finally, on a subject that comes up on this site often, there is much consternation about Rehnquist and his lack of announcement regarding his retirement. Law.com (in a story carried by the AP), Volokh Conspiracy, Nashville Truth - and that was just yesterday. I know that we all want to get the ugly confirmation hearings (and it is going to get ugly - believe me) done with and behind us, but let's not put the cart before the horse. There are still 3 weeks left until the end of the Court's term. Chief Justice Rehnquist isn't going to say a thing until then. Plus, a lot of this new round of speculation centers around a favorable diagnosis of an oncologist that has apparently never even met the Chief Justice. Of course, it wouldn't surprise me if Rehnquist stays on. When these legal intellectuals get ahold of the power of the bench, many of them turn into Strom Thurmond and can't quite achieve the closure needed to leave their careers behind. I say that as someone who could see himself having the same problem. I guess that takes us back to the Friday morning tee times that originated this thread, so, having come full circle, I'll stop here for now.
Years ago I read where Reinquist indicated he would like to set a new record for length of time on Supreme Court. He has only been Chief for 19 years but was an Associate Justice for more than a decade before that. Additionally, he is a widower and the court is his life now. If he has his faculties I don't see him stepping down unless he has a downward change in health.Post a Comment